It’s not news that cannabis may be used to fight cancer. We have all heard numerous stories and read numerous articles about people who claim that cannabis was the cure for their cancer or that it helped them during chemotherapy. Ten years ago these were pretty wild claims, however, today even our moms are asking questions such as “why isn’t my doctor telling me about this cure and if marijuana is able to cure the cancer, what else can it cure?”. And these are legitimate questions. In 1974 researchers from the University of Virginia found that both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) inhibited a form of lung cancer, which has opened the door for numerous other scientific studies that have confirmed the anti-tumor effects, not only of those two most well known cannabinoids, but also of other, less popular ones. So today, in 2015, we still wonder – why aren’t our doctors pointing us towards cannabis as a medicine?
Cultural Aspects of Consuming Cannabis
Before we star unwrapping these issues, we have to consider our culture as the reason why our collective stance towards cannabis is messed up. Throughout our history of dealing with cannabis, our western (and thus developed?) culture has been consuming it for entertainment purposes only. Most of the time other illegal drugs were included into this consumption. And many people rolled their joints using a combination of tobacco and cannabis. All of this has given birth to a popular belief that marijuana is a gateway drug, the one that introduces you to other illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroine or MDMA. A quick look at other (not so developed) cultures portrays a completely different story about the consumption of cannabis. For instance, throughout history, people from Jamaica haven’t been using cannabis for entertainment purposes. Nearly 40 years ago, Dr. Melanie Dreher went to Jamaica and studied the effects of cannabis use on pregnant women and their infants. She spent her time living among the rural people of Jamaica, and discovered that the use of cannabis in their daily life is a routine. She conducted several studies that examined the health and development of Jamaican women and their children, showing that children born to mothers who use cannabis are better adjusted than children born to mothers who do not use the plant.
Government acknowledges cannabis may fight cancer
So how far have we got with our western consumption of cannabis, and have we changed our culture of consuming the plant? During the past few years, the United States government has been dancing around the fact that cannabis or cannabinoid products may fight cancer in humans. It was a marginal thing that would paint an ugly picture of a politician if he/she decided to talk about it publicly. However, years of campaigning have made a difference.